America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide highlights selected works by artists in America Is Hard to See. Curators, scholars, and artists provide additional commentary.

603Carmen Herrera, Blanco y Verde, 1959


Carmen Herrera (b. 1915), _Blanco y Verde_, 1959. Acrylic on canvas, 68 1/8 × 60 1/2 in. (173 × 153.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 2014.63 © Carmen Herrera; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

DANA MILLER: I’m Dana Miller, Curator of the Permanent Collection here at the Whitney.

This painting, Blanco y Verde, from 1959, is one of several works that Carmen Herrera made from the Blanco y Verde series.

So if you look carefully, you can see that this painting is actually made from two different canvases, and they meet at the bottom of the green triangle. So she’s using the physical structure of the canvas, the edge of the canvas, to reinforce the form. So the color, the green shape, the structure of the canvas where the two meet, and the line, the shape of the triangle are working in concert here to create the total image.

I think one of the interesting things about Herrera’s background is that she went to architecture school. And her paintings, if you look at them carefully, can often be seen as almost like cuts in space. If you think of the green triangle as being a slice taken out of the painting, and when you look at her sculptural works and her drawings, you see that’s very much the way she’s thinking. She’s often thinking in three-dimensional terms, and then translating that image into a two-dimensional form, using green and white. So almost imagine the green as being a negative space that’s sort of a cut into the white plane of the canvas.